Let me be frank, here: Although I’ve written about how to maintain a full bush, what to know about vagina beauty products, and why the pH level of your privates is important, I’m not someone who pays much attention to my vag. I don’t ignore it in the shower, and I shave it, but I don’t give it any particular TLC, despite knowing a lot about it. Until one day, when I was invited to get a “vagacial”—AKA a vagina facial or a spa treatment that’s catered exclusively to the nether regions.

Mind you, I’ve never even gotten a bikini wax, but somehow, I found myself lying naked on a treatment table at New York City’s Daphne spa—with merely a small towel modestly covering my breasts and torso—waiting for an esthetician to tend to my vagina in a treatment mysteriously called the Lotus (which runs for $85). Natalia Aleksandrova, my esthetician, first instructed me to put the soles of my feet against each other and to open my knees wide. For, you know, easy access to the star of the show. She then put a bright light right on it to examine its state, in a way that kind of made me feel like I was at my gynecologist’s office.

“You don’t have any ingrown hairs,” she said after glancing my vagina over. This is something I knew, but then I realized that this treatment is mostly targeted towards those dealing with ingrowns and hyperpigmentation in the area. “So what will you do, then?” Aleksandrova told me she’d just be exfoliating and hydrating, then—which something she says everyone should be doing to their vagina on the reg (whoops).

“With exposure of the vulva—the skin around your vagina—to hair removal such as waxing, shaving, or laser treatments, you’re more prone to irritation, hair bumps, and allergic reactions in the area,” says Omnia M. Samra-Latif Estefan, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist of Nelly De Vuyst‘s BioFemme line. Despite this, Dr. Estefan doesn’t necessarily back up a treatment for the vagina, because it’s kind of a self-cleaning oven and the rules of the face don’t necessarily apply to the vulva. Her advice? “A women’s best bet is gentle cleansing and not scrubbing or using harsh soaps,” she says. “After washing, pat dry and use non-fragranced products that can be used to protect the thin and sensitive skin down there.”

On the other hand, Aleksandrova says it’s important to exfoliate down there because it helps to prevent ingrown hairs, and that hydration is also essential (it is skin, after all). “You should use a sugar scrub two to three times a week—either all over the body or just the bikini line, because it helps prevent ingrown hairs,” she tells me.

Like a regular facial, the vagacial begins with a cleanse—she massages a gentle, milky cleanser onto my southern region, and uses a hot towel to wipe it off. Then, she slathers on a toner, followed by an exfoliating powder, after which she lets my vagina sit under a steamer. You’d think this would feel as fabulous as it does on your face, but in reality, that humid heat just made me feel like I was on the verge of peeing.

After my vag was properly steamed and exfoliated, it was time for the mud-like mask. Aleksandrova slathered it all over my bikini area, then left me in the room for a few minutes for the hydrating and detoxifying ingredients to do their job. Once the mask was finally cleansed off, the treatment ended with a layer of moisturizer on my private parts. The whole thing took about 30 minutes and ended with my vagina feeling pretty much the same, but I suppose cleaner and more hydrated.

Instead of, I don’t know, having sex with my newfound freshness, I went to the gym instead, which probably defeated the whole purpose. Regardless, I’m sure that getting a vagacial is helpful if you are prone to ingrown hairs. Me, on the other hand? I’ll leave the steaming to the shower, the massaging to my boyfriend, and keep the face masking above my décolletage. To each their own, though.

Speaking of your down-there region, here are pro tips for bikini line maintenance. And this is the case against shaving down there, from one of our editors (I’m going to keep doing it, though).

I Got a Vagina Facial—and Lived to Tell the Tale

If you thought facials were just for your face, today I’m here to change your mind. I recently had the unique experience of getting a vagina facial, and believe it or not, I would do it again.

I first heard of the treatment when D A P H N E, a European skincare and sugaring studio in New York City’s Nolita neighborhood, emailed me to offer me a complimentary facial called “The Lotus.” They described the treatment as targeting ingrown hairs and hyperpigmentation in the bikini area, as well as cleansing, exfoliation, extractions (!), and brightening.

Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let me fill you in on the basics.The facial is priced at $60 and lasts around 20 minutes with no extractions, or up to 45 minutes if you have ingrown hairs that might need some extra attention. I’m told that it’s usually recommended for women who wax or sugar, but anyone with ingrown hairs can benefit from the treatment.Personally, I opt to shave, but I’m all about treating my skin, so although the concept seemed bizarre at first, I decided it made sense to pamper this sensitive area like I would anywhere else on my body.

So I headed to D A P H N E with an open mind and an open Notes app on my phone, ready to document my experience in detail. In my naiveté, I assumed bikini area meant bikini line—as in, underwear on, some exfoliation and extractions, nothing major. However, moments after arriving at the crisp white studio, I was lying on a spa bed with my lower half exposed, legs parted in full birthing position. The world’s brightest light was glowing over my private parts, and I was trying to remember why I volunteered to write this story.

The facial began with cleanser applied everywhere to clean and prep for the rest of the treatment.Slightly cold and surprising, I was not expecting to go from zero to person-cleansing-my-vagina in the first two minutes of the session.Luckily, my esthetician, Natalia, was a total pro. She approached the entire process as if treating the face or any other less-private area, which, while somewhat bizarre, was also comforting and made the experience significantly less awkward.

After cleanser, Natalia applied an organic toner meant to balance the PH. She explained that the toner doesn’t sting before extractions, but that it might after—something to look forward to, except not really. Next, she exfoliated the area using a body scrub rubbed in circular motions. For me, this felt abrasive, but she assured me she was being gentle, and I chalked it up to it being a very new and unfamiliar sensation for me. She explained that this type of exfoliation is important and can be done at home in the shower as well, as long as the scrub is intended for the body and the motions are circular.

Post-exfoliation, I was informed (to my slight horror) that my vagina would be steamed for two to three minutes to open my pores and prepare for extractions. The steam was hot, but not necessarily uncomfortable—the true discomfort was in having a stranger wait and watch for the pores on my vagina to “open up.”Again, I stress the professionalism of my esthetician, but it is hard to not feel a bit awkward under the circumstances. (Don’t try down-there steaming at home, since it could lead to second degree burns if you’re too close.)

Next up: Extractions. I let Natalia know that I was terrified, and she said that I might not need any at all. I was elated and honestly, quite proud, until she took a closer look and informed me that I actually required two small extractions. She used a lancet and tweezers to expertly extract, which felt more surprising than painful, and a second after each, I felt perfectly fine. I told her that one of my friends often tries to self-medicate their ingrown hairs, and she explained how dangerous and unsanitary that can be. At that point, I realized how incredibly beneficial this treatment might be for someone who really struggles with ingrowns, and I texted that friend in the moment and encouraged her to make an appointment soon. I was officially on the vagina facial bandwagon.

After my minor extraction session, more toner was applied, then a hydrating mask was coated on and I was left for ten minutes to Snapchat everyone I know—waist up, of course—and wonder how I got myself into this situation in the first place. Normally a lover of face masking, my vagina was a mask virgin to say the least, but the hydrating and soothing properties were welcome after the extraction process.

After the mask was wiped off, she applied a hydrating cream, and The Lotus was complete.I waited until Natalia left the room to examine the results, and noted that everything looked much the same as before we began, althought it did feel slightly smoother and cleaner. The next day, though, I was definitely noticeably softer and smoother around my bikini line. I was hoping for results that would wow my ob-gyn at my appointment the next day, but she didn’t seem to notice, and I tried not to be offended.

I should mention, though, that someone with a lot of ingrown hairs might notice more of a drastic difference than I did. And even though there weren’t visible results, I felt like my skin had benefitted from the exfoliation process. More than that, it felt like I had embraced my body for what it was—after all, you get pretty comfortable with yourself after sitting in birthing position for 25 minutes straight.

While I was admittedly relieved when The Lotus had ended, I found myself encouraging friends to try it out for themselves. If you’re someone who struggles with ingrown hairs in your bikini area or just want to go the extra mile to give your body the pampering it deserves, I think a similar treatment is more than worth it. After all, what more could you hope for from a vagina facial besides a smooth bikini area and a crazy story to tell your friends?

I’m a self-proclaimed beauty daredevil who is down to try anything once (after proper website stalking and research, of course). Just when I thought I’d done it all—hydrating, brightening, LED, microdermabrasion, lymphatic drainage, and classic facials included—I discovered the vagina facial. Yes, this is a real thing, the V-Steam offered by VSPOT Medispa to be exact. It is also known as a “Vajacial,” which is honestly so fun to pronounce. Say it with me: “Va-ja-cial.” It kind of rolls off of your tongue, right? Naturally, I booked an appointment right away. I thoroughly enjoyed bragging to all of my friends about my upcoming va-ja-cial, which I enunciated in syllables because I’m extra like that.

My friends’ hilarious reactions when I told them about the facial. Maya Allen

Pre-Vajacial Thoughts

V Spot

It was the week of Valentine’s Day and I had no Valentine…nothing new there. Being the self-care addict that I am, I knew this would be the perfect time to love on myself and do something nice for my body. What better way to celebrate love day than to show love to your lady parts?! Vagina facial it is.

Naturally, I was apprehensive and had all the questions. Is it invasive? Are needles involved? Will it be painful? What does it do really? I quickly found out that no, needles are not involved and there is no pain—on the contrary, the treatment is rather relaxing and enjoyable.

The Process

Getty Images

The medispa is in a cozy nook tucked away from the bustling streets of the Upper East Side. As soon as I entered, the combination of the vagina-shaped artwork, fuzzy area rug, and glass of bubbly that was handed to me upon arrival made me feel right at home. All the nerves of not knowing what to expect instantly drifted away. The spa felt like a girls den and a safe space for self-love.

I was led to the dimly lit room and my technician, Tina Shala, who had the warmest spirit, instructed me to undress from the waist down and lay down on the spa bed in a comfortable position. She gently positioned my legs open, covering them with warm compress towels that felt like heating pads. She set up a make-shift teepee for my legs. Underneath the towels was the steam machine, which blew out warm therapeutic herbs, with the aim of detoxifying my vagina. Shala warned me to let her know if I ever felt over-heated (there have been reports of burns from vaginal steaming), but the steam actually felt soft and gentle, not overpowering or unbearable. Scents of comforting herbs quickly filled the room—it smelled like a garden of greenery. I later learned that it was a blend of basil, calendula, mugwort, marshmallow root, wormwood, and rose petals. The herbal infused steam dilates the blood vessels, which in turn increases blood circulation by bringing oxygen to the area, while relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. It felt like a sauna for my vagina at the most idealistic temperature. I didn’t sweat at all, but I certainly felt the heat.

While the steam was going, Shala massaged my abdominal area with a natural oil, which felt so soothing. “It increases libido and relaxes your pelvic floor,” Shala told me, after mentioning this area of the body is usually neglected, and needs more movement. (Note to self: Do more abdominal massages, especially when it’s that time of the month.) About a half-hour went by and my treatment was coming to a close. The final step in the $125 treatment involved an LED blue light machine placed directly on top of my vulva. According to V-Spot’s Dr. Carolyn DeLucia, D.O., a registered OB-GYN, studies show blue LED “has antibacterial effects on Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and Staphylococcus Aurius, which are commonly found on the vulva and may cause odor.”

The Hype v. the Science

Courtesy

Celebs have been praising vaginal steaming for years. Gwyneth Paltrow was one of the first to unabashedly introduce the U.S. to the practice in 2015, when she recommended the V-Steam treatment at Los Angeles’ Tikkun Spa. Chrissy Teigen has posted a picture of herself steaming. She was later asked about it on a TV show. “Classical vaginal steaming…yeah, I like to steam my vag,” the model said. “Listen, I don’t like to do it, but if GP tells me to do it, I’m kinda into it,” Teigen continued. Count me in now, too.

View this post on Instagram

face mask / heat pad / vagina steam no I don’t know if any of this works but it can’t hurt right? *vagina dissolves*

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on Jun 18, 2018 at 9:24pm PDT

As Shala explained, the V-Steam increases libido, relaxation, detoxification, cleansing, and helps with menstrual cramps. “Historically the V-Steam is known as a Yoni steam, which began in ancient Korea thousands of years ago. It has been used in South America and parts of the Caribbean, and now is gaining popularity in Hollywood because of its amazing benefits,” she said. The VSPOT website describes the treatment as an experience that “revitalizes the uterus, effectively reducing discomfort associated with menstruation. The treatment can help with painful periods and dryness during sex.” Dr. DeLucia recommends getting a V-steam at least once a month for vaginal detoxification and purification purposes. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has no official position on the treatment, adding that there is “no medical indication for their necessity or effectiveness.”

The After Effects

Getty Images

Whether the treatment actually did something for me medically or not, as I stood up from the spa bed, I felt so much lighter. My body felt like it had completely flushed out all of the bad stuff. The combination of the steam and expert massage must have rid me of God knows what, but I felt amazing. Since the procedure was so gentle, I didn’t have any soreness or side effects. I only reaped the rewards, and will 100-percent be going back whenever I need some extra lady parts lovin’. Here’s to more vaginal TLC in 2019 and beyond.

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Related Story Maya Allen Digital Beauty Editor Maya Allen is the Digital Beauty Editor at MarieClaire.com where she covers makeup, skincare, haircare, wellness, you name it!

Okay so not EXACTLY your vagina, more like your pubic area. But you’ll know what I mean here.

We go through all the latest and greatest vag decor options… But natural, nude or neither – that’s cool. It’s your vagina – you do what you wish with it. But we do LOVE talking about vaginas here at Stay at Home Mum – so see what we have found for you!

1. Want hair down there but have none? Why not try a Merkin!

WTF is a Merkin? Well it is a ‘wig’ for your vagina. Yes, they are a thing. Yes, you can buy them!

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They come in all sorts of colours, shapes, and sizes.

Check out these stores that stock Twat Toupees, a Kitty Carpets, Fur Berets, or a lady’s low toupee!

  • The Merkin Boutique (US)

  • The Merkin Store

  • The Playful Pear Shop (Burlesque and Costume Merkins)

  • Crystal Faith Creation (High Quality Realistic Merkins)

Our Favourite Merkin:

We love this Small Pink Crown Merkin with rhinestones – classy!

Stockist: Merkin Boutique (US)

2. Try Some Vajazzling

Yes yes you have heard of it – but have you actually SEEN it? Generally, vajazzling is applying tiny crystals to your nether regions in a pattern – and there are so many cutie patootie options now, your vagina need never leave the house without bling ever again!

No pain involved!

Best shops for gorgeous Crotch Decor:

  • Crystal Body Art (Au)

  • My Pink Wink (US)

  • Divine Body Jewels (US)

Ladder Bikini Vajazzle by My Pink Wink

3. Bleach your Labia or Butt-Hole

Before we start – can we just say that this sounds bloody painful… But apparently it isn’t…. And who is looking at your labia so hard they think you need to bleach it?

Anyhoo… If you are going to go there, make sure you use products that are made especially for this part of the body! All reviews tell us that the South Beach Gel is the best and ‘brightest’ way to lighten your lady-garden area without getting third-degree burns.

via chemistdirect.com.au

South Beach Anal Bleaching Gel is Available from Pharmacy Online

4. Do IPL Brazilian Hair Removal at Home

Laser Hair Removal is perfect for totally removing your Minge Mane, but it is expensive to get it done at the salon. But the tech is there now for home IPL systems, so you can permanently remove any hair you like!

Our pick is this Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Hair Removal for Body, Face and Bikini

Stockist: Amazon Australia

5. Apply Some Vulva Lipstick

There’s lippy for your lady lips! It’s an actual thing… People find pretty colours for their second pair of lips to make them look extra girly. And apparently ‘these’ lips get chaffed occasionally too!

via amazon.com

6. Vagacial: (A Vaginal Facial)

The older we get the more wrinkles we get, everywhere. For ladies who love skincare and pruning, Vagacial is the new best thing! with a full Vagacial comes cleansing, moisturising and a smooth surface left over. Prettyyyy! Just Google “Vagina Facials” and your suburb, I’m sure there will be a therapist nearby!

via tipscaras.blogspot.com

7. Stuff Brazilian, go French.

The French wax is by far the prettiest looking grooming style, delicate and tidy without being completely bare and bold. You can ask your beauty therapist for a ‘French’ – or alternatively, you can buy small templates so you can wax yourself at home!

via thelittleowlspa.com

8. Get Some Serious Vag Muscles with a Yoni Egg

A Yoni Egg is another vagina crystal type thing, supposedly made to bring lust and passion into your sex life, having it in before intercourse will make for a lustful experience for both partners… We could all use a bit of that! Plus the bottom of the crystal kinda hangs out – so it’s like a vagina earring.

via etsy.com

or a Yoni Egg Set to Practice Your Kegels

via etsy.com

9. Get Your Clit Pierced

The most popular vagina prettifier goes to the clit piercing, give you bits some bling with one of these bad boys. There are two different sorts – there is the Clitoral hood piercing (which is the most popular) where the piercing goes through the hood of the clitoris, not the clitoris itself. This is provided you have enough of a clitoral hood to actually pierce!

Then there is the ACTUAL clitoris piercing – which is uncommon as there is the potential for nerve damage. Some women also find that direct clitoral piercing will be too ‘sensitive’ for intercourse (so really, what’s the point?).

Ouch!

You can buy beautiful Clitoris jewellery here:

  • Jeweled Navel (US)

  • XS Body Jewelery (Canada)

Our Pick:

This Vertical Hood Piercing Barbell with Hinged Crystal Heart by Jeweled Navel

10. Too Scared? Try a Non-Piercing Labia Clip

CLIT CLIP!!! This is a favourite for sure! Without the permanence of a piercing, these pretty clips can be put on for extra special nights for a bit of fun! They are clipped onto your labia flaps and come in all different styles and colours. This is a very non-invasive way to decorate your vag.

Our Favourites:

This butterfly crystal clip clip from Etsy for $13.60

11. Pubic Hair Dye

Yep there is hair colour that is specifically made for the pubic area! It does not contain any ammonia or parabens and is totally fine to apply to the more sensitive body parts. They come in a variety of colours so you can make your thatch any colour you wish!

Our pick is Manic Panic – it is vegan!

Grab it from RY: Recreate Yourself

12. Got Lumps and Bumps from Waxing?

Perhaps look at IPL Laser Hair Removal! This is a great way to avoid all those ingrown hairs that seem to plague us gals with curly or frizzy hair! Yes it costs a heap – but it does a terrific job – and no more bumps! Most beauty salons or laser clinics offer this service. But for a cheaper long-term option – you can now buy home versions of the laser!

Our Picks:

Philips Lumea Advanced IPL Hair Removal Device

You can pick them up cheap online from Shaver Shop

With so many cool vaginas (and in many of these cases, vulvas) dominating the news in 2015, it was hard to narrow it down to just 13, but narrow it down I did. Here are the best vaginas of 2015.

1. The “World’s Most Beautiful Vagina.”

Facebook

Auto-Blow sex toys decided to have a competition to find the world’s most beautiful vagina and asked women to submit photos of their vaginas so the Internet could vote for and rank them. The three winners were told they’d get thousands of dollars in cash and the opportunity to have a mold made of their vulvas so they could be made into sex toys. Auto-Blow creator Brian Sloan made that mold by 3-D scanning the first-, second-, and third-place vaginas after taking them to a quick lunch. A little weird, yes, but also, good for them?

2. The wall made entirely of vaginas.

Jamie McCartney

Over 400 women took part in Jamie McCartney’s “Great Wall of Vagina” plaster of Paris artwork designed to put an end to women feeling shame about the way their vaginas look. McCartney said he was sick of companies shaming people for their vaginas and telling them they needed to have surgery to make them look better so the companies could make money off of them. He said his plan was to do castings with one woman’s vagina from every country in the world and a casting series with one vagina from every state in America so women could see their vaginas are perfect. He’s basically a terrific human being.

3. The vagina emojis the world needed.

Flirtmoji

Flirtmoji introduced vagina emojis with diverse skin tones, tangles of hair, and little details like wrinkles, veins, freckles, piercings that made all of us wonder how we got along without vagina emojis for as long as we did.

4. This awkward teddy bear vagina.

#Teddy #cake causes controversy – Vagina or just a seam? http://t.co/nV35C0siTK #cakedecorating pic.twitter.com/zvjrtAryji

— Proto Thema English (@eprotothema) June 21, 2015

Sharon Green just wanted to order a cake from the U.K.’s Occasion Cakes for her 3-year-old daughter Tahlia Rose’s christening, but what she got was a cake with seams that made the bear look like it had a vagina. Green says that she covered the bear’s alleged vagina with fondant flowers because she didn’t have time to do anything else, but she later demanded a refund from the bakery. She says that no one ate the cake and that the bears on the cake were also not what she ordered, but the shop said the alleged vagina on the bear was actually a seam where the bear was sewn together. So, potato, bear vagina, basically.

5. These supermodel vaginas that totally touched.

Stuart Weitzman

Stuart Weitzman announced that Joan Smalls, Gigi Hadid, and Lily Aldridge would be the new faces of the shoe brand’s spring 2016 campaign the best way they knew how: by having their vaginas touch in the photo. ‘Nuff said.

6. The vaginas that were picked out of a lineup by their owners.

BuzzFeed asked six women to look at their vaginas, describe them to a professional portrait artist, and pick their own vaginas out of a vagina lineup and three out of six women were able to recognize their own immediately. The overall consensus about the exercise was summed up perfectly by one of the women: “OK, it’s awkward, but there’s no shame in having a vagina,” which is a message worth drawing strangers’ vaginas for.

7. The vagina that made a loaf of bread.

Via stavvers.wordpress.com

British Blogger Zoe Stavri whipped the Internet into a frenzy after writing about a sourdough loaf she’d begun to make from scratch, leavened with yeast from a vaginal infection. She sourced the yeast with the help of a dildo and baked it. Stavri then ate her special sourdough bread and said she “really, really liked it” and plans to bake more bread items using her leftover starter yeast (since her infection has since cleared up). Bon appetit.

8. The vagina sculpture that mysteriously got white stuff all over it.

Instagram

Sculptor Anish Kapoor’s latest work, “Dirty Corner,” also known as the “the vagina of a queen who is taking power,” was mysteriously vandalized by someone who put white, uh, stuff, inside it. The estate’s management said the piece was being cleaned and the mystery white paint removed, so it was eventually good as new.

9. The weight-lifting vagina of Kim Anami.

Instagram

Sex expert and life coach Kim Anami posted a ton of photos of her traveling the globe tying objects to a jade egg she inserts inside her, lifting the objects, and tagging them #ThingsILiftWithMyVagina, which is a pretty solid profession.

10. Nicki Minaj’s vagina dress.

Getty Images

Is it a vagina dress? Who knows. But when the light hits it just right, it seems like it is and that’s good enough for me.

11. The vagina painting that shut down a man’s Facebook account.

Gustave Courbet/Musee D’Orsay

A French teacher tried to sue Facebook for disabling his account in 2011 after he posted a photo of the 1866 painting “The Origin of the World” by Gustave Courbet. The famous work of art, currently on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, is a close-up view of a woman’s vulva, thighs, and stomach. Facebook shut down the man’s account and has not reactivated it. Facebook’s lawyer Caroline Lyannaz argued that the man’s lawsuit had no merit, since all users have to sign a clause agreeing that only California courts can rule in disputes over Facebook, so French users couldn’t take recourse with any of their policies. Take note, semester abroad travelers.

12. The vagina that bled outside a temple in protest.

Facebook / Feminism in India

Twenty-year-old Nikita Azad started a Facebook campaign using #HappyToBleed to protest the Sabarimala temple in India, which doesn’t allow women of menstruating age to enter. The temple chief said the rule would only be changed once they had a machine that could check whether a woman was menstruating or not. The campaign invites women to speak out against this sexism using charts or sanitary products with #HappyToBleed in photos on social media.

13. Every vagina that got contoured this year.Vontouring (aka vaginal contouring) became a thing in 2015, even though I’m pretty sure no one asked for that to become a thing. The non-invasive, non-surgical labioplasty is designed to “correct the external look of vagina” by using an ultrasound to stimulate collagen production via the application of “intensive heating” applied to the vaginal opening.” Plastic surgeons said the creepy-sounding vagina oven of sorts will increase the flexibility of the labia majora and minora and lead to “significant and long-lasting improvement of sexual satisfaction,” but it mostly just sounded like weird sexist crap to me. Vaginas don’t need bronzer, yo.

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Lane Moore Sex & Relationships Editor I’m Lane Moore, sex & relationships editor at Cosmopolitan.com.

Self-proclaimed ‘Headmistress of Pleasure’, Layla Martin, launched a photography project on January 17 aiming to help women see the beauty in their vaginas.

The project, aptly named ‘Your Vagina is More Beautiful Than You Think’, aims to highlight the difference between the way a woman sees her own vagina, and the way her partner sees it: to convert the self-consciousness of the former into the unwavering admiration of the latter.

In terms of the body image movement, it’s an issue missing out on the public acknowledgement it deserves.

Listen: Mia Freedman discusses her personal spat with Instagram and body image issues, on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues after audio…

Martin’s touching video makes an effort to smash the self-consciousness many women experience when it comes to their vaginas.

“I guess I feel embarrassed but I don’t know why”, one woman says in the video.

“I’m a little nervous, because I should be more comfortable with that area of myself,” says another.

Four women of different ages, sizes and ethnicities posed for vaginal close-up photographs. The images were then printed, and handed back to them.

Upon being confronted with the images, the women begin to see their vagina for what it really is: a symbol of power; of beauty.

“It’s not as ‘ugly’ as I thought…”, one woman says, shy giggles muffling her words.

“It’s a part of me that I just push to the back of my brain…” via YouTube.

Here’s How You Can Do A ‘Vagacial,’ In Case You’re Curious

We know vagina sheet masks exist, but we never realized you could go the extra mile and do a full-blown facial down their. As in, a vagacial. Coined from the words “vagina” and “facial,” a vagacial focuses on taking out anything that clogs the pores down there—whether it’s dirt or ingrown hair—to score silky smooth skin.

Pubic hair is coarse and curly, which makes it prone to grow inward, but doing a vagacial will protect you from developing ingrown hair. Plus, the routine brightens the singit, too! Take note, a vagacial is just concentrated on the outer area of the vagina, aka the vulva, so you don’t need to “disturb” the vagina’s ~*natural*~ environment.

We first read about a vagacial on international fashion websites, but recently, we saw a *detailed* vagacial tutorial from YouTuber ThatsIndi. She taught women how to get a smoother vulva, and as of writing, the video has garnered a million views! If you’re curious on how she does it, keep on reading!

Continue reading below ↓

(Ed’s note: She released a disclaimer that she’s not a doctor or an aesthetician—we shouldn’t take her tips as profesh advice. It is important to use products that won’t harm your vagina. Steer clear of items with harsh fragrances and sulfates, as these may affect the healthy bacteria environment of your V.)

  1. Wash with a mild cleanser.

    Indi used a castile soap with tea tree oil to cleanse the area. Tea tree oil is Mother Nature’s anti-bacterial treatment, and it can heal clogged pores caused by ingrown hairs. If you can’t find a similar product, you may also opt for a feminine wash with witch hazel to soothe the skin.

  2. Exfoliate with caution.

    In the video, she waxed her pubic hair before exfoliating, but, an aesthetician left a comment saying that scrubbing should go first to avoid irritation. Indi concocted her own sugar scrub, but you can try this one from St. Ives, which can remove layers of dead skin cells while nourishing the vulva’s surface. Tip: Look for a gentle scrub!

    Continue reading below ↓

  3. Wax, never shave.

    Indi isn’t in favor of shaving pubic hair because this method increases the chances of having ingrown hair. She advised women to get professionally waxed or to DIY it wth sugaring wax kit.

  4. Tweeze the leftover hairs out.

    To take out remaining ingrown hair, Indi first steamed the vulva to open up the pores. (If you don’t have a facial steamer, try a towel soaked in warm water and pat it on the area.) Then, she plucked them out individually with a pointed tweezer. PSA: Please make sure your tools are clean and strelized before doing this step.

    Continue reading below ↓

  5. Treat the affected area.

    Plucked out ingrown hairs are basically open pores. To prevent infection, Indi applied a healing toner on the area. We recommend something mild like this one from COSRx.

  6. Mask it!

    Just like your face, your vulva deserves a ~mask~, too! Indi made her own turmeric mask. Turmeric is an anti-inflammotory and brightening ingredient—dark singit, be gone! Instead of making your own concoction, try this jelly mask available in the market.

    Continue reading below ↓

What do you think? Do you see yourself doing a vagacial anytime soon? If you want to know how it’s done, watch the whole video for an in-depth look:

Continue reading below ↓

THE BEST VAGACIAL EVER AT HOME |100% NATURAL FEMININE HYGIENE

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Jenny Van Sommers I went for a beauty treatment the other day. The aesthetician used an array of products by Yon-Ka and Sonya Dakar — exfoliants and cleansers and masks — and all the regular tools: tweezers, lancets, cotton pads. There was just one thing that was different: It was not my face getting the facial, it was my vulva.

Many years ago, back when my marriage was new, before we had two babies, there were days when I would dance off to get a bikini wax as if it was no big deal. I could blame something vague and anthropological like the influence of pornography on American culture. I could blame Eve Ensler and all those monologues. (Coochi Snorcher, anyone?) But I personally place all the blame on my friend Candace Bushnell, the author of Sex and the City. Because of her, the bikini wax somehow stealthily warped itself into one of the required grooming routines of the urban female.

You all know I’m not talking a little trim around the edges here. I’m talking one of the thorough Brazilian jobs, during which a tiny nut-brown woman would push my ankles up past my ears and pause in her Portuguese recitation of the Lord’s Prayer just long enough to grit her teeth and whisper, “Now, breathe,” before — with a loud huzzah! — she pulled a six-inch strip of wax off of body parts that had not seen daylight since my last diaper change in 1970.

In the last few years, emboldened by the first spelunkers to manicure the masses down there, beauty marketers have leaped onto your genitalia. Now we have dye for your labia to replace skin color lost with age (My New Pink Button “restores sexual confidence to women everywhere”) to join the dye for your pubic hair (Betty, which comes in eight colors). Bleach for the parts that should probably not be bleached. Hair-transplant surgery for those who feel sparse. Initials that can be applied with eyelash glue. For those who worry that their labia flap like wings or who fret that their husbands feel like they’re throwing tennis balls down bowling alleys, there’s vaginal-rejuvenation surgery. Earlier this year, I watched in queasy horror as Jennifer Love Hewitt described to George Lopez how she’d had her vulva vajazzled, a process in which all the pubic hair is removed and replaced with an ornamental set of — as she described it — stick-on Swarovski crystals. Lopez looked frighteningly wolfish and distracted, like he was about to tear her dress off in a sensual trance. Hewitt teased him about her “disco ball.” It was, in a word, unsettling.

Even if you are not bedazzling your vulva, all this aesthetic activity down there — not to mention the basic biological to and fro — means that those defacing Mother Nature are going to have to pay the price. We have earned ourselves the facial for the vulva.

Various salons call it different things — the Peach Smoothie, the vagacial — but the procedure is about the same as a facial for your face. I volunteered for duty, considering the fact that I was at least one childbirth away from a bikini wax and I closely resembled Gustave Courbet’s painting The Origin of the World. (Google it. Or, better, don’t.)

The Peach Smoothie at Manhattan’s Haven day spa in SoHo is performed two weeks after a waxing. I returned for my vagacial with a little trepidation. I’m the kind of person who feels guilty getting a facial on my face — apologizing during the mask application for my spider veins, leaving giant guilty tips to excuse my clogged pores — so imagine my anxiety about some poor woman poking around my vulva. (The vagacial should, of course, be called the vulvacial, since the procedure takes place on only the outside of the body, not the inside, where the vagina, or sheath in Latin, is located, but it’s a bit more euphonic to say vagacial, so the female anatomy gets mislabeled — sigh — again.) I showered several times before my appointment.

Atrim Polish woman named Marta greeted me in the salon waiting room, where I fiddled nervously while tea lights flickered and a meditation sand play box sat unreachable behind the doors of a glass cabinet. In our treatment room, I disrobed and reclined. Marta was basically going to give me a facial, she explained, just on another part of my body. “My elbow?” I asked hopefully. She pressed on.

Unlike a regular facial, where you are encouraged to close your eyes and are not a party to the horrors of buffing and extracting and peeling — in denial of any association with those wrinkles and pores — your eyes are open in this case and you and the therapist can have, oh, long conversations about the state of your vulva. Have you ever seen that movie How to Get Ahead in Advertising, in which Richard E. Grant grows an extra head on his shoulder and it’s always talking back? This was kind of like that. The kitty was unleashed. It was anthropomorphism with a twist: feminomorphism. Genital transubstantiation. Something weird was going on.

“Do you normally use an exfoliant?” she asked my vulva as she performed a mild cleansing under the bright aesthetician’s light.

Vulva, I wondered, how do we respond to her?

“Um, there?” I asked, looking toward a place on my body that had been seen since 2000 by only my husband, my obstetrician, and a couple of maternity-ward nurses — and even then it had been swabbed in Betadine. “I would say, generally speaking, no.”

After cleansing, Marta applied a triple-action organic scrub, then cleansed again. She looked for eruptions. Reader, I am happy for your sake to report there were none. “Some women get terrible acne,” she said. “You grab the hair, and once you get rid of it and all the pus and inflammation, you use a high-frequency wand to destroy the bacteria.”

We had arrived at the portion of the Peach Smoothie where ingrown hairs are addressed. “Thank God,” I mumbled to the ceiling. “I don’t have any ingrown hairs.” Oh, but Vulva had other plans.

“Look at all these ingrown hairs!” Marta said with a giddy clap of her hands. She got to work plucking and picking and springing free the tiny curled buds, then tweezing them away. She applied a dab of Prince Reigns, a serum that prevents ingrown hairs and razor bumps and also helps with discoloration and hyperpigmentation.

As an add-on, Haven also offers the Baby’s Bottom, which cleanses, exfoliates, and uses an acid peel to rid your buttocks of acne, scars, and bumps. I’m not going there.

How necessary is a facial treatment for your vulva? If I didn’t wax, it wouldn’t be necessary, because there probably wouldn’t be any ingrown hairs, accompanied by the potential for acne. Dermatologists freeze when I tell them I’ve been to a certain spa for a bikini wax, then start lecturing me about all the infections I could contract. Other detractors argue that we ought to leave well enough alone; the vagina is a perfectly pH-balanced, self-cleansing biological zone, so why mess with Mother Nature? Why remove the hair and pretend our vulva needs a facial?

Part of it is what Janet Jakobsen, a professor of women’s studies at New York’s Barnard College, calls the Sex and the City paradox. “You are simultaneously totally objectified and more empowered than you used to be,” she says. Objectified because we’re prostrating our bodies on some pedestal of misogynistic, almost pedophiliac-like desire, creating a false kind of perfect woman whose beauty and polish can be attained only after hours and weeks of personal grooming and high-end hygiene. Empowered because it’s all marketed to us as some sort of self-improvement.

Yet another part of the vagacial’s attraction is that it is one of those services that can be perceived as a high-end beauty treatment but is a luxury most of us can afford. (At Haven, the Peach Smoothie is $50, while a serious facial for your actual face starts at $145.) “As a personalized luxury experience, what better place to spend the money than your body?” Jakobsen asks.

After Marta had patted me down and given me a list of products I might be interested in for my vulva, I dressed and chatted with her about the popularity of the procedure.

“Women get acne everywhere,” she said, “and so we do need something to address that problem. For some women, it’s very bad. They probably shouldn’t even be waxing,” she said, pronouncing it “vack-sink.” She shrugged her delicate shoulders. “But what can I say? It’s part of the culture now. They feel they have to do it.”

And my vulva and I packed up and walked home.

Even the most vigilant waxers/shavers, those of us who will not stand for a single pubic hair to plant its unwanted flag on our nether regions, experience the nightmare that is three days post-wax/shave: the day when we wake up and find a red, bumpy road of ingrown hairs and pimples have threatened our well-paved skin. The injustice is maddening. We put ourselves through painful torture and spend big bucks to get rid of body hair, only to then deal with a bikini line that looks like it is stuck in perpetual puberty. Never fear, the “vagina facial” spa treatment is here and will make your vagina look as fresh and pretty as a daisy.

For those who don’t live in the City of $900 heels, allow me to explain. The popular Manhattan-based waxers J Sisters are among just a few spas offering a treatment called “Gommage Therapy.” The “vajaycial,” as it has been humorously referred to in the New York Post, is a deep cleansing and exfoliating treatment for the inner thigh and around the bikini area so that, after you spend your time and money on that painful wax, you can rest easy knowing it won’t suddenly turn on you.

The treatment is recommended for women two to three weeks after a waxing and involves extracting ingrown hairs and exfoliating the area in order to prevent pimples, says Mazzie Santos, who is the manager at J Sisters.

If you’re like me, visions of your vagina being attacked by chemicals that could strip paint off of a car just marched through your head and swiftly shut down this entire operation. But Santos says this is not a worry.

“We use organic ingredients,” Santos said. “No strong chemicals. We don’t go inside the vagina. And it’s a very soft product and not the same kind used for the face.”

Still not convinced? Well, even doctors seem to be a-OK with it. According to Dr. Eric C. Rottenberg, a board certified urologist from New York City, the “facial” is safe, as long as you aren’t cray-cray enough to request an inner labia treatment.

“I don’t think there is any danger to it, assuming that it is on the keratinized squamous epithelium (the thick skin on the outside),” Rottenberg said. “If they’re applying chemicals to the delicate layer on the inside, that’s a completely different story, with a whole lot of possible trouble. Think of it as how facials are OK as long as you pay special attention to the eyelids and skin around the eyes. This is because the skin is very thin. The vaginal layer is even more delicate because it has no keratinization (which eyelids do), which offers a layer of protection.”

And Dr. Oscar A. Aguirre, a pelvic surgeon who has performed numerous Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation treatments, says he actually encourages gommage therapy.

“I would encourage the treatment like I would encourage personal hygiene. It’s just another step to it,” Aguirre said.

Women should pay close attention to how their skin is reacting to the products used so that they can determine if they are allergic to anything, Aguirre said, and they should not seek a spa treatment to help with bumps and rashes on the vulva that require medical attention. They should also be realistic about their expectations, he said: It’s one thing to go into your spa expecting to have your ingrown hairs removed, and quite another to believe you’re going to emerge with a vagina that is 10 times tighter than the one you had before giving birth.

For better or worse, Santos says the treatment has been offered at J Sisters for the past two years and has grown in popularity with its clientele, which includes many celebrities. One session, which takes between 45 minutes to one hour, costs $155. Other spas are also offering gommage therapy, she says, though the treatment is still rare.

I’ve always believed a woman should spend as much money as her budget allows in order to make herself feel her very best — I mean, you know, tend to your mortgage and electricity bills first and your vagina second, obviously. But I don’t see the difference between waxing down there and attending to it with a little help from some luxurious organic creams and exfoliants. If it makes you feel more confident, which could increase your sexual confidence and pleasure, by all means, scrub a dub dub down there.

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